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Harley Altmyer barely has it together. With his father dead and his mother in prison for murder, he has to work at 2 low-paying jobs and take care of his 3 younger sisters.
"One day you're that guy who's happy he managed to survive high school and get that almighty piece of paper, and you're thinking you might try to get a job at Redi-Mix concrete where your dad's worked since the beginning of time. And at least you've got a family you can stand even if they are all sisters. One day you're that guy, and the next day you're assigned to a social worker and a therapist and given the choice of either being a LEGAL ADULT with three DEPENDENTS or an ORPHAN with NOBODY." --From Back Roads Harley Altmyer should be in college drinking Rolling Rock and chasing girls. He should be freed from his closed-minded, stricken coal town, with its lack of jobs and no sense of humor. Instead, he's constantly reminded of just how messed up his life is. With his mother in jail for killing his abusive father, Harley is an orphan with the responsibilities of an adult and the fiery, aggressive libido of a teenager. Just nineteen years old, he's marooned in the Pennsylvania backwoods caring for his three younger sisters, whose feelings about him range from stifling dependence to loathing. And once he develops an obsession with the sexy, melancholic mother of two living down the road, those Victoria's Secret catalogs just won't do the trick anymore. He wants Callie Mercer so badly he fears he will explode. But it's the family secrets, the lies, and the unspoken truths that light the fuse and erupt into a series of staggering surprises, leaving what's left of his family in tatters. Through every ordeal, the unforgettable Harley could never know that his endearing humor, his love for his sisters, and his bumbling heroics would redeem them all. Funny and heartbreaking, Tawni O'Dell's pitch-perfect characters capture the maddening confusion of adolescence and the prickly nature of family with irony and unerring honesty. Back Roads is a riveting novel by a formidable new talent.
With her New York Times best sellingg first novel, Back Roads, Tawni O'Dell proved herself a writer of formidable talent, one who captures the humor and humanity in the bleakest of circumstances. Now, with Coal Run, her eagerly anticipated second novel, O'Dell takes us beck to the coal-mining country of western Pennsylvania, the territory she renders with such striking authenticity, and tells the story of a native son, his fall from grace, and his heroic efforts to rectify the past. Coal Run is a community of ghosts and memories. After a mining explosion took the lives of so many men and transformed their families, the reverberations are still being felt in the generation of survivors thirty years later. Narrator Ivan Zoschenko, the local deputy and erstwhile football legend ("the Great Ivan Z"), his pro career sidelined by a knee injury, spends a week seemingly preparing for an old teammate's imminent release from prison. In doing so, Ivan introduces a rich cast of characters-his unexpectedly wise and comic former beauty queen sister, his former idol Val Claypool, and the young woman whose life he changed forever. And during the events of this week, Ivan confronts his demons and reveals himself to be a man whose conscience is burdened by a long-held and shocking secret that must be reckoned with. Driven by the same raw energy, humor, suspense, and compassion for a place and way of life so evident in her first work, O'Dell has produced an uncompromising and absorbing new drama. A story about letting go of the goals of greatness for the ordinary grace of good work, family love, and an acceptance of where you come from, Coal Run advances on, even transcends, the incredible promise of the powerfully riveting Back Roads.omise of the powerfully riveting Back Roads. FIC ODE
With her eagerly awaited second novel, Tawni O'Dell takes readers back to the coal-mining country of western Pennsylvania. Set in a town ravaged and haunted by a mine explosion that took the lives of 96 men, Coal Run explores the life of local deputy and erstwhile football legend, "The Great Ivan Z.," as he prepares for a former teammate's imminent release from prison. As the week unfolds and Ivan struggles to confront his demons, he reveals himself to be a man whose conscience is burdened by a long-held and shocking secret.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Back Roads comes a fast-paced literary thriller about a forensic psychologist forced to face his own demons after discovering his small hometown terrorized by a serial killer.Dr. Sheridan Doyle--a fastidiously groomed and TV-friendly forensic psychologist--is the go-to shrink for the Philadelphia District Attorney's office whenever a twisted killer's mind eludes other experts. But beneath his Armani pinstripes, he's still Danny Doyle, the awkward, terrified, bullied boy from a blue-collar mining family, plagued by panic attacks and haunted by the tragic death of his little sister and mental unraveling of his mother years ago. Returning to a hometown grappling with its own ghosts, Danny finds a dead body at the infamous Lost Creek gallows where a band of rebellious Irish miners was once executed. Strangely, the body is connected to the wealthy family responsible for the miners' deaths. Teaming up with veteran detective Rafe, a father-like figure from his youth, Danny--in pursuit of a killer--comes dangerously close to startling truths about his family, his past, and himself. In this masterfully told psychological thriller in the vein of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, the past and present collide to put Lost Creek's long-lived ghosts to bed.
Shae-Lynn Penrose drives a cab in a town where no one needs a cab--but plenty of people need rides. A former police officer with a closet full of miniskirts, a recklessly sharp tongue, and a tendency to deal with men by either beating them up or taking them to bed, she has spent years carving out a life for herself and her son in Jolly Mount, Pennsylvania, the tiny coal-mining town where she grew up. Two years ago, five of Shae-Lynn's miner friends were catapulted to media stardom when they were rescued after surviving four days trapped in a mine. As the men struggle to come to terms with the nightmarish memories of their ordeal, along with the fallout of their short- lived celebrity, Shae-Lynn finds herself facing harsh realities and reliving bad dreams of her own, including her relationship with her brutal father, her conflicted passion for one of the miners, and the hidden identity of the man who fathered her son. When the younger sister she thought was dead arrives on her doorstep, followed closely by a gun-wielding Russian gangster, a shady New York lawyer, and a desperate Connecticut housewife, Shae-Lynn is forced to grapple with the horrible truth she discovers about the life her sister's been living, and with one ominous question: Will her return result in a monstrous act of greed or one of sacrifice? Tawni O'Dell's trademark blend of black humor, tenderness, and a keen sense of place is evident once again as Shae-Lynn takes on past demons and all-too-present dangers.From the Hardcover edition.